Copyright Infringement: Polka Dot vs. an Elle Spain blogger

December 14th, 2010 – Update: The post on Spanish ELLE’s blog, “El Equipo E.” has now been removed again, but the problem is not yet over.  Please check out the comments below for an update from Jill herself.

December 11th, 2010 – Update: The post on Spanish ELLE’s blog, “El Equipo E.” has been updated and now credits Jill as the source and Carmen indicates that she spoke to and straightened everything out with Jill. However, from what I understand, this is simply not true. She never reached out to Jill and all is not OK. The story isn’t over yet. Please continue to show your support of Jill and let ELLE Spain know you are behind her!

Copyright infringement is a serious topic, and something that was just recently covered in Friend Friday. I said it then, and in the case of blogger Jill Carin Adams of Street Style: Pics by Polka Dot, it certainly applies: copying isn’t a form of flattery – it is stealing.

Image via Sigma I = Life

A writer for Spanish ELLE’s blog, “El Equipo E.” posted a new article on December 3rd that contains 4 of Jill’s photos (note: as of 12/14 the article has been pulled, but the issue is still not settled). The author, Carmen Bejerano, never contacted Jill about the photos and did not credit her as the source. Further, the likeness of these ladies was posted by Spanish Elle without their permission and one of them is a minor!

According to a post of Jill’s from earlier today:

“To be told that the author of ‘Bye Bye Madrid’ was playing with the theme of these English girls looking cold.. and for someone to be allowed to comment (when I wasn’t!) on said blog, that Roz – who had just come out of hospital for major back surgery, who was taking her daily walk on a cold November day (Bonfire Night, to be precise) as per the doctor’s orders, as part of her recovery.. legally underage Roz, who posed for photos with her mother and her father watching, WHO DID NOT ASK TO BE CRITIQUED by a group of strangers on Spanish Elle.. to hear people say that her face looked ‘cold’ – and to know that I could not take those comments down: all I can say is, Carmen B, and your employer, Spanish Elle Magazine: you have chosen the wrong person to mess with.”

They haven’t just chosen the wrong person to mess with – they now have a whole slew of bloggers and readers to deal with that are backing up Jill.

Jill has commented on Carmen’s post only to have it stuck in “moderation” mode. She has emailed ELLE Spain, left messages with the publisher of US ELLE Magazine, and spoken to someone in the London ELLE office. She has turned to twitter to see if someone will respond to her. Her readers, myself included, have commented on Carmen’s blog, asking that this copyright infringement be remedied. All to no avail.

Bloggers are passionate about what we do. What we write. What we photograph. Our blogs are more than a hobby – they are an extension of ourselves. They are our “babies”, and we are more than a little protective of them.

That is why you should never mess with a blogger. Not only are we passionate about our own work – we can also be fiercely protective of one another.

Think about it for a second.

How do you think you’d feel if you learned that someone else, someone who works for a mainstream fashion publication, had used your photography without your permission? How would you feel if you were neither credited nor mentioned? If your comments inquiring about the images were censored? If your numerous queries were left unanswered?

Not a pleasant thought, right?

Now, imagine that these “stolen” images were photos of your friends. Individuals who had granted you permission to use their likeness on your blog. Individuals you respect. Individuals you care for. How would you feel if you learned that these very images – photos of your friends – were being critiqued by the guilty blogger. Used as examples of what “not” to wear. Ridiculed.

Would you feel violated? Small? Powerless?

This is exactly what happened to Jill, and now she is asking for our help:

“This is so not the post I want to be doing. There’s so much I’d rather be focusing on. And I can’t bear to fight with anyone. But I’m going to ask all of you to please read this and please comment and tweet and just generally spread the word around. I’m doing it for me, but I’m also doing it for you, because when it happens to you, you’re probably going to feel like I do now: a bit fragile, a bit violated.”

Here are a few things you can do to help:

  • Please take some time to read Jill’s post.
  • Comment on Jill’s blog and let Elle Spain know that you won’t stand for this type of copyright infringement.
  • Tweet about what happened.
  • Do what you can to encourage Elle Spain to remedy this.
  • Get the word out however you can!
{ 20 comments… add one }

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  • polka dot December 8, 2010, 2:47 PM

    This is the first I saw of your post, Beautifully Invisible. I thought I was fine about it – I AM fine, I’m doing other things -but as I read it, I suddenly burst into tears. In a good way.

    btw: While I’ve cut my blog roll way back, yours is on it (under USA style). I want to be able to find you again easily, because I have a hunch this blog is going to be a daily read. You write beautifully and you absolutely get it about what matters.

    Grateful more than I can say.

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 4:49 PM

      Oh Jill, I am sorry it made you cry, even if it was in a good way! I had to post something when I read about what had happened to you. I relate on a MUCH smaller level because I have had photography stolen and SOLD for profit by others. I don’t know what I’d do if a blog post was stolen.

      Anyway, I am glad that they took the post down at least, but still am hopeful that you will get that MUCH deserved apology. That is the least they can do.

      I am honored that you are including me in your blogroll, and thank you so much for your kind words! Yours is on mine as well 🙂

  • Grit and Glamour December 8, 2010, 2:14 PM

    Sorry, B, just getting to this. SO glad you took the bull by the horn. Looks like they pulled the link to the post on Spanish Elle…I got a big fat
    “404, Archivo no encontrado
    Lo sentimos, estas buscando algo que no está aquí.”

    Shame on them for not at least acknowledging the bungle. That Carmen should be fired. She committed the ultimate journalistic sin. If I were managing that blog, she be canned, immediately.

    ♥ V
    twitter: @gritandglamour

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 4:39 PM

      No worries – thanks for RTing the post today, and thanks for letting me know the site was down!

      I just can’t believe they have yet to contact Jill and apologize. Carmen should know better (maybe she should join the Friend Friday group so she learns a thing or two!), and ELLE should educate their bloggers on copyright law, don’t you think?

  • jeminajakin December 8, 2010, 5:48 AM

    That’s so awful, and shocking too!!!


    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 4:36 PM

      You’d think employees of a publication as big as ELLE would know better.

  • Marissa December 8, 2010, 12:58 AM

    Thank you for spreading the word. This makes me so angry! Not asking permission is one thing, but not crediting a source is unthinkable. And to not respond to Carmen is probably the worst of all.

    • Marissa December 8, 2010, 12:59 AM

      Sorry, I meant Jill.

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 4:36 PM

      It was my pleasure – thanks for the support! They finally took the post down, but they still haven’t responded to Jill, which really is the worst of it, as you said. Still hoping they will!

  • MrsBossa December 7, 2010, 6:58 PM

    That’s awful – and horrifying. I can understand how she might feel violated by this, especially because they were photos of people close to her. Let’s hope we can get something done about this!

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 4:35 PM

      Thanks for your support! It looks like the post was taken down, but they haven’t apologized to Jill yet. Still hoping that they will!

  • Bangs and a Bun December 14, 2010, 1:02 PM

    I heart @polkadot23's blog very much & just caught up on this copyright saga. Spanish Elle are bang out of order!

  • Jessie M December 14, 2010, 1:08 PM

    RT @BangsandaBun I heart @polkadot23's blog very much… Spanish Elle are bang out of order!

  • Jill Carin Adams December 14, 2010, 1:28 PM

    aw, bless u @fashionlimbo! RT @BangsandaBun I heart @polkadot23's blog very much… Spanish Elle are bang out of order!

  • BeautifullyInvisible December 14, 2010, 3:39 PM

    Please check out the update from @polkadot23 herself! Copyright Infringement: Polka Dot vs. an Elle Spain blogger

  • Michelle December 14, 2010, 8:08 PM

    Help support a fellow blogger! RT @BeautifullyInv Copyright Infringement: Polka Dot vs. an Elle Spain blogger

  • BeautifullyInvisible December 15, 2010, 12:35 AM

    @styleish Tiffany, would u mind sharing this with your followers? I'd love to get more peeps involved 4 Jill!

  • tiffany December 15, 2010, 6:03 PM

    So terrible that a magazine thinks they can pull whatever images off the internet for their blog! RT @BeautifullyInv:

  • A.Co December 15, 2010, 6:28 PM

    RT @styleish So terrible a magazine thinks they can pull whatever images off the 'net 4their blog! RT @BeautifullyInv:

  • BeautifullyInvisible March 22, 2012, 8:37 AM

    Vintage Beautifully Invisible: : Copyright Infringement: Polka Dot vs. an Elle Spain blogger